Discovery of Warner Bros. And Japan‘s U-Next has announced an extension of their relationship with a renewed agreement to supply content to the SVOD platform. The deal allows U-Next to remain the streaming home of HBO in Japan.
Featuring exclusive content rights to HBO, HBO Original and HBO Max Original series, the enhanced deal includes: current and future seasons of HBO’s “House of the Dragon”, “The Last of Us” and “Succession”, as well as the return of HBO Original and HBO Max Original series “True Detective: Night Country”, “Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty” and “And Just Like That…”
Upcoming shows include “The Idol”, “White House Plumbers” and “Love & Death” and the exclusive Japanese premiere of Steven Soderbergh’s “Full Circle”.
The deal also covers a library of more than 2,300 HBO episodes, including “The Deuce,” “The Newsroom” and “Six Feet Under.”
WBD announced last year that it would be slowing down its planned international rollout of HBO Max and recently revealed that it was still toying with its own streaming platform options.
U-Next deal follows similar renewal agreement in Australia with Foxtel and U-Next’s announcement of plans to merge with fellow Japanese streamer Pallavi. The expanded operation is expected to overtake Hulu Japan as the largest locally operated streamer in the country.
Analyst firm Media Partners Asia recently said that net new subscriptions to streaming services in Japan have slowed. But the upside potential remains significant.
“SVOD household penetration is still only 45% and there is significant room for growth in the future, driven by (largely non-exclusive) anime, premium live action and Korean content and, in some cases, sports. The opportunity going forward for the SVOD category in particular is to elevate the quality of live-action content alongside continued investment in the licensing of ‘popular anime,’ MPS said in a report.
“The collaboration with Warner Bros. Discovery, which started in April 2021, has produced great results as a strategic partnership. We’ve been able to bring high-quality titles from HBO and HBO Max, the pinnacle of American entertainment, to audiences as quickly as possible, and we believe the number of opportunities for people to engage with our service via these titles has also increased. said Tsutsumi Tenshin, CEO of U-Next.
“This renewed agreement reflects our ambition to develop greater scale across our business ecosystem, with a future option that allows us to reach as wide an audience as possible across multiple platforms,” said James Gibbons. , President and Managing Director, Western Pacific at WBD. .